By Ivan Cairo
Caribbean News Now contributor
PARAMARIBO, Suriname — The body of a male of East Indian descent that was discovered with a single bullet wound to the head on Monday in Guyana is said to be that of Nitinder Oemrawsingh, a rice exporter from neighbouring Suriname.
While Guyanese police are still awaiting official identification family members of the deceased have identified him from photographs that were circulating on social media after the discovery. Meanwhile his lawyer Irvin Kanhai has confirmed to Surinamese media that he was informed by the brother of the businessman that his client was shot dead.
Lyndon Alves, head of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Guyana Police Force, said that he is in contact with his counterpart in Suriname to officially establish the identity of the victim.
Oemrawsingh was named a person of interest by the Surinamese police in the investigation of a 2,300 kilos cocaine seizure last week at the Jules Sedney Port in Paramaribo. While he wasn’t regarded as a suspect as yet, acting police commissioner Roberto Prade said during a press conference on Saturday that the exporter was wanted for questioning. The drugs were found in one of eight freight containers loaded with rice he brought to the harbour for export through Guadeloupe to France. The Port Control Unit discovered the cocaine during a routine check.
Meanwhile, the Narcotics Brigade in Suriname arrested four suspects in the investigations regarding the drug bust. According to Prade, two customs brokers, a truck driver and a customs officer were being held and assisting with the inquiries. Sources indicate that the customs officer gave statements last week to police but at that time he wasn’t considered a person of interest or suspect in this case. It is alleged that the customs officer is the official who checked and sealed the containers at the rice mill in Nickerie before they were transferred to the harbour in Paramaribo.
According to the Guyana Police Force, the corpse was discovered around 4.20 pm local time in East Berbice, Corentyne. The victim had a gunshot wound to the forehead. The man was dressed in a light blue sleeveless shirt and black sweatpants. A spent shell case believed to have been fired from a.32 caliber pistol and a cell phone supposedly belonging to the victim were found near the body.
The body was transferred to the mortuary in Skeldon, Berbice, for a post mortem.
After two major media outlets here on Friday published that Oemrawsingh had left the country and was reportedly hiding in Guyana, his lawyer said that his client wasn’t on the run from police and that he was still in Suriname. Oemrawsingh, according to the lawyer, would “soon” surrender himself to the authorities.
Meanwhile the police in Guyana have ruled out robbery as a motive for the killing. The deceased had a small amount in US dollars in his possession. In addition to the bullet wound to the head, other traces of violence were found on the body, which indicated that the victim was manhandled before he was shot dead. It is also not excluded that the man was murdered elsewhere and the body was dumped on the beach. Tire tracks of a vehicle were also been found close to the murder scene.
Detectives assume that the man was lured to the crime scene by a person or persons he knew. No arrests have been made yet. The body was found by police officers who were on regular patrol at the beach. Until last Saturday, four people were questioned by the Suriname police in this case.
Prade said during the press conference that often it is very difficult to catch the “big boys” in large cocaine seizures. According to police spokesman inspector Humphrey Naarden the cocaine was due to be destroyed on Thursday.